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Clean Power CEOs: Save the DOE Loan Guarantee Program!

Close to three dozen CEOs of clean power companies — from First Solar (s FSLR) to SunPower (s SPWRB) to Nanosolar — are pleading with congressional leaders to save the funding for the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which has come under fire during the Congressional budget negotiations In a letter Tuesday morning, the CEOs asked congressional leaders Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner to support continued funding for the program. (DOE Loan Chief Jonathan Silver will be speaking at our Green:Net 2011 event on April 21 in San Francisco.)

A loan guarantee serves essentially as a promise by the government to make good on a loan if the company can’t, and typically enables better interest rates and lower costs than would otherwise be available to a company for project financing. In total, the DOE has chosen 21 clean energy projects for loan guarantees and offered conditional commitments for $21 billion in loan guarantees. The loan program office also has already issued term sheets for more projects than it actually has the budget to finance.

Eliminating, or dramatically reducing, funding for the loan guarantee program, would “literally pull out the rug from under,” the companies’ projects, “just when we are about to break ground,” wrote the group in the letter. The group represented in the letter have been awarded, or have pending, loan guarantees the companies are using to raise millions of dollars in financing to construct clean power projects, from solar farms to biofuel plants.

We are deeply concerned that eliminating funding for this critical program will not only destroy thousands of pending jobs and hinder the growth of critically-needed U.S. domestic energy production, but also defeat America?s effort to compete with China, Germany and others in the clean technology marketplace.

A report out from Pew Research and Bloomberg New Energy Finance Tuesday morning found that because of an uncertain political climate, the U.S has dropped to third on the global list of investments in clean energy, behind China and Germany. The U.S. was the leader in clean energy investing back in 2008. With an uncertain political climate, investors tend to make their investments elsewhere.

The CEOs say the currently supported projects with the DOE loan program “represent an estimated 58,000 direct and indirect jobs across 19 states,” and the remaining not-yet-allocated loan guarantee commitments represent another 35,000 jobs.

Beyond urging Congress to continue financial support for the program, the CEOs asked the congressional leaders to support a logistical change that would allow companies with project applications in one section of the loan program (Sec. 1705) to be able to transfer those applications to another section (Sec. 1703). As Silver explained at the Cleantech Forum earlier this month, it could be easier to get loan guarantees out by consolidating the sections.

The DOE loan guarantee program has come under scrutiny over the past few months for its increasingly conservative terms, for its less-than-detailed electronic records, and for picking winners that haven’t seemed to be winning. Some question the government even having a program that picks winners and losers. But for the companies that have already built their businesses around it, it’s a crucial program.

One Response to “Clean Power CEOs: Save the DOE Loan Guarantee Program!”

  1. Sanderson Leeder

    The Solyndra case proves that the DOE LOAN and ATVM funding was based on pure bribery and lobby manipulation. All of the failure points on Solyndra have been visible for ages. Feinstein and DOE pushed the money to Solyndra in exchange for pass by fees to their friends and campaigns.

    Kleiner Perkins put Chu in office as Secratary in order to get favored nations funding for their portfolio companies and keep competitors to those portfolio companies from getting funded. Steve Westly and Kholsa helped them along with Raj Gupta.

    Detroit’s lobbyists said,” we can’t get you any more taxpayer money because the public knows we are liars” “Tell them we need the money to build electric cars- and then we can BS them into coughing it up” said the lobbyists. The law said that the money was to go to any American car company but it only went to a Japanese company and Detroit. (Tesla is now controlled by Detroit no matter what crap Elon foists off so don’t say they are not part of it.) All of the independent electric car companies who weren’t part of Detroit or the Gore VC’s were blockaded from funding. The way they did it is against the law.

    The DOE ATVM And Loan Gaurantee programs were conducted by criminals in order to commit crimes. Steve Rattner, who was at the head of those programs, has already been charged with crimes. Lachlan Seward, Matt Rogers and the rest of them need to go to jail.

    Steve Rattner (Now a proven criminal by the State of NY), Lachland Seward, Matt Rogers and his partner Steve Spinner and most of Tesla’s friends at McKinsey Consulting from Silicon Valley (Who used Tax payer jets to fly back and forth to Silicon Valley to go bike riding), Steve Westley and a group who now left DOE, and some who are still there are criminals. They stole your tax money.

    The few applicants that did get money spent tens of millions of dollars on bribes and lobby “incentives” equal in ratio to the money they got. Now the White House says that $17B of the taxpayer money that DEtroit got is a write-off and is lost forever. In other words Detroit has already embezzeled more money than all of the other applicants applied for put together.

    Google Tesla’s Siry on “DOE stifles innovation” to read what one of the highest level staff at one of the car companies said.

    The GAO, a federal crime busting agency, just released public reports saying that the DOE Loan programs were corrupt. All of the people under Seward were “connected” or “made men” in the Detroit cadre. Seward changed the section 136 first-come-first serve rule (Which appears to be illegal) in order to provide advantages to his friends in Detroit who didnt bother to apply in time and to cut out the smaller players who were already ahead in the application proces

    Subpeonas of Detroit and DOE Loan Departments will prove crime, corruption, favoritism and rigged contracts were the rule and not the exception.